Monday, February 25, 2013


                     "Never flinch, boys, never be afraid,
                                       "Heroes are not born, boys, heroes all are made..."

The second week of Lent is already upon us, so we are well into the penitential season now. I am going to be honest, and admit that I rather like Lent. Don't get me wrong, it can be tough, especially the first couple weeks, when you are settling into it; when you are hungry, and craving chocolate, and the six weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, seem a long and drear and bleak. It isn't the penance I like, nor even the extra prayers, but the season itself.

You see, I tend to view life as something of a long, running battle. Sometimes there is a good dash of glorious adventure thrown in. Sometimes there are dry periods of tedious monotany. Sometimes, the soldier is in good spirits, and meets misfortune with philosophy and song. Sometimes, he is weary and worn, and ready to throw the towel in, and go AWOL for home. But as inveritably happens on long campaigns, there is a time when the fighting comes to a stand still, and both sides hunker down in their trenches, with nothing but the occasional lobbing of mortars and the fitful exchange of fire to remind them that a war to  is still on. In the midst of this false semi-peace, the soldier becomes complacent, and his fighting skills grow slack.

Lent puts an end to all of that. Lent is a call to arms, and the order to attack - to throw off the lethargy that has had the soldier in its grip. It breaths life and glory back into the fight. It is hard going, battling across a dismal noman's land, and marching on short rations. The soldier must have all his courage and wits about him, for the enemy is both fierce and wily. For all that, there is exhileration in being well into to the fray again, in the slow gaining of ground, despite falls and setbacks. The sword and the musket make glad his hands, and there is joy at being once again so solidly in the army of the Great Captain, Who has gone to His own death for the sake of His men, and defeated it.

At least, that is how I see Lent - a time to make up for past sins, yes, but also a time to set my face firmly towards my King and Captain, and trust Him as a soldier trust a good CO. For though He might send me into bitter fighting, He will never suffer me to go it alone. So, hard as it is too keep to the extra penances and prayers I have set for myself, (I do not always keep to them so devoutly as I could wish) I say again, that I do like Lent, and I thank God for the season.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Which I Am Myself

About a week ago, the lovely Cat, over at The World Crafter, tagged me with a gorgeous blog award, which she created herself. May I present The World of Dreamers Award:

Yes, she drew it herself. Cat is like that.

I had hoped to be able to do one more post before I did another tag, just to break things up a bit more, you know. But alack and alas, the Muse has utterly forsaken me. I cannot compose poetry, though I have several good ideas rattling around in the back of my mind begging me to catch them. I cannot doodle, much less paint or draw. I can think of nothing interesting to blog about. But, oh well. That is life after all, so playing tag it is!

The rules for this tag (Thank you Cat!) are wonderfully simple. I merely have to answer the six question she poses for me, and give you four totally random facts about myself. Here we go:

1.) What sort of a book would you describe yourself to be? (i.e., are you a fantasy, historical fiction, dystopian, etc?

Um... A book full of dialogue and idiom, written by a quirky British author, with all the depth of a really well written history, all the awe and wonder of really well written high fantasy, all the adventure of a good old-fashioned mystery, all the humour of a P. G. Wodehouse book, and possibly a touch of the best cookbook in the world thrown in for good measure... oh, wait, that is The Little Book I Never Wrote (but really want to :-).

2.) What would be likelier to do? Order a coffee with a British accent, or pretend to be deaf when someone talks to you?

I'm afraid I'd order coffee with British accent - probably Scottish - and not ever realise that I had done so. I have a bit of an accent at the best of times, and it thickens ups when I have watched anything with British actors in it, or when I am being my most sincere and polite. Or if I am just plain tired. I do not do it on purpose, but I'll admit that I do enjoy the look of utter confusion on inquisitive peoples' faces, when they ask "Where are you from?" And I respond, "California" with a straight face.

3.) A total stranger comes up to you. Do you (a.) react instantly and punch him in the face before he has a chance to introduce himself? (b.) step back and wait to see if he is hostile before punching? or (c.) go all coward and run away, screaming like a banshee?

Definitely (b.) tempting as the other two options are. However, let this be a word of warning: if I do not know you, and you get too close to me, be aware that I am sizing you up, and subtly moving myself into position so that I may punch you solidly on the nose if I feel threatened. Furthermore, bear in mind that I have a sharp letter-opener handy at all times, and I know how to use it.

4.) Would you prefer to be sick with the stomach 'flu or a shockingly bad case of strep throat?

I have had both, and I can say, with hand on heart, that I'd rather have strep. Sure, you can't swallow anything without excruciating pain, but there is dignity in laying still and suffering pain. There is no dignity in the 'flu. (Yes, I do have dignity.)

5.) If YOU could be a superhero, what type would you like to be?

I am probably the one person in the world that doesn't want to be a superhero. I tend to consider it a responsibility, and I take responsibility seriously. If I were pleasing just myself, I'd want to be able to do everything Jack Frost does in the movie, Rise of the Guardians, including being invisible. But that would merely be me, with powers. That would not make me a superhero. If I were to accept that responsibility, I'd retain the ability to remain unseen if I wish, and turn rather into a Ranger, with incredible speed and skill with sword, dirk, bow and slingshot. And possibly, a genuine WWII Spitfire in perfect condition, so that I can get about quicker. Oh, yes, and a hidden lair, stocked with comestibles, beverages, both strong and comforting, and, of course, books. No you may not come home with me. I saved your life, now you are on your own.

6.) Someone yells "Obey!" What's the first thing you think of?

I suppose the default answer to that is those annoying Daleks. However, if someone were to yell, "Obey!" at me, my first reaction would be a most emphatic, "NO". I do not take orders well. "If thee asks, or thee suggests, I am like putty in thy hands. But when thee demands, thee is barking up the wrong tree!"*

So now, on to four extremely random facts about myself:

1.) In spite of the fact that I know perfectly well how to pronounce the word "Muse", in congenial company, I say "moose" instead, thanks to an old episode of Fibber McGee and Molly. (Fibber, for those interested, was attempting to write, and he informed his wife that he had been "visited by the Moose." She suggested, "Don't you mean Muse, dearie?" To which he responded, "No, moose. M-U-S-E: moose!" And moose it is to me, to this very day.)

Picture courtesy of Cat. I told you she was like that, didn't I?

2.) I am probably the only young lady in the world, who still regularly gets toy soldiers for Christmas. And I am so delighted to get them.

3.) I have extremely diverse and unusual taste in music, and will listen to anything from Byzantine Chant, to Mumford and Sons. One of the strangest titles in my collection of CDs, is this:

Edda - An Icelandic Saga - Myths From Medieval Iceland / Sequentia

It combines recitation, and chanting, and fiddle accompaniment, in an attempt to re-create the way the ancient storytellers would have recited the Myths. My favourite track? The bit that lists dwarf names off, including Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Ori, Nori, Fili, Kili, Thorin aaaannnnnddddd..... Gandalf! So, know you know where Tolkien got those names from. You may now impress your fellow nerds with this information. And just in case any one wants to hear it, just listen carefully to the first minute and a half of this clip:

4.) I dislike hot dogs intensely, and I am not ashamed to say it. Who invented those nasty things? For that matter, who thought corn dogs were an improvement? Give me tomatoes and sausages any time.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

And Today Is...

St. Valentine's Day. Yes, we all know that, but fear not. I am not doing a post on the well known holiday. Do I seem the sort to be doing hearts-and-roses posts? No, no. I am presenting the following list of disparate observances also held upon this estimable date:

 - Ferris Wheel Day: Today is the 154th birthday of George Ferris, the inventor of the famous fairground ride - which, incidentally, is not news to anyone who has observed today's Google Doodle. Since I had planned on mentioning this before Google stole my thunder, I am going ahead as planned, and those of you who missed the Doodle now have a brand new bit of trivia to share with your family, friends and co-workers. You're welcome.

image from
 - Pet Theft Awareness Day: Yes, that really is an official observance.  I do not know who thought Valentine's Day a perfect match for this day. If you are lucky enough to have a One True Love with whom to share the day, I can think of few things that would kill the romantic atmosphere quicker than having someone ask you if you were aware of pet theft and send you to the website provided in the link above. And if you are not lucky enough to have a One True Love, and this lack rankles a bit, there is nothing like learning all about pet theft to complete your feeling of loss.

  - World Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day: In case Pet Theft Awareness Day was not enough to cause February 14th to be a day of depression, it is also a day on which to contemplate heart defects. I suppose there is an ironic logic to it, but still, it sort of takes the fun out of champagne and chocolate, doesn't it?
image from

 - League of Women Voters Day: Just because. I cannot think of any reason at all for such a thing to be celebrated today. I consider voting to be an arduous duty at the best of times, so I cannot imagine being part of a league of voters of any sort, unless it was reluctant voters. Still, if chocolate, Ferris wheels, stolen pets, and bad hearts aren't your thing, it is good to know there is another way to spend the day:

 - Library Lovers' Day: Hurrah! Finally, a celebration for me! If it were not already Lent, I would have chocolate and champagne and read a good book to mark this auspicious occasion. Since the penitential season is on us, however, I shall just make do with a good book, taken from my personal library, and I shall love it.


Amazing cordiform (heart-shaped) book —
The Heart Book is regarded as the oldest Danish ballad manuscript. It is a collection of 83 love ballads compiled in the beginning of the 1550’s in the circle of the Court of King Christian III.
(via The LION & the CARDINAL)
image from

Monday, February 11, 2013

In Which I Discover that I Have Been Watching Too Much Dr. Who

Several days ago, I discovered something rather alarming on the brown rug lying before the sofa in my house, something that looks like this:

Pardon the quality. The lighting was not very lightsome.
 ... Something which looks suspiciously like that sinister crack in little Amy Pond's room... like a Crack in Time! So far, no voices can be heard emanating from the light. I have not had visits from strange men with strange dogs. It does not follow me around, nor does it seem that anything has been swallowed up into it - though, of course, it is hard to be absolutely certain about that last point. It goes away when I turn off the standing Tiffany lamp, which leads me to believe it may possibly be only the echo of the filament within the light bulb. Still, it is better to be safe than sorry. I make a point of avoiding that curious light.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Another Round of Tag

Bella over at To Say Nothing of Reality has tagged me, which is particularly nice of her. Thank you, Bella! But I have been a really terrible blogger lately, and have only just got around to actually doing the tag. I have been feeling guilty about that for the last couple days, so here I am, pulling myself together, and presenting you with The Answers. (and also THE Answer, which is 42.) You will notice that I have not tagged anyone. I just don't do that, and that is How It Is.

1.) Will you watch a black-and-white movie?

     Oh, yes, most definitely. I've watched lots - grew up watching old movies, as a matter of fact. I love the way they filmed movies then, with great inter-play of light and shadow. Some of the best movies are black-and-white. Just watch the La Marseillaise scene from Casablanca. (For those unfamiliar with the movie, it takes place in North Africa. The Germans are in charge, and Humphrey Bogart's hotel, Casablanca, is temporarily home to hundreds of French exiles with no way to get home. The Germans are singing Die Wacht am Rhein, a patriotic German hymn, and the French respond with their national anthem.)

2) If you could choose between Middle Earth and Narnia where would you go?

     Middle Earth, definitely! I am hopelessly devoted to Middle Earth. The real question is, where would I best like to live in Middle Earth? Now that would be asking! (I would definitely bring my pipes :-)

3) What is one place you'd like to visit?(or revisit as the case may be)

     Venice at its best.

4) You discover a dragons egg under your bed. What is the first thing you do?

     Wrap them up well in heavy blankets, and keep them close to the fire so that they would hatch. I've always wanted a pet dragon.

5) How would you describe a hero?
     Well, the old heroes would be almost inhumanly strong and brave, the perfect example of noble and honourable Manhood. I think it is rather a pity that the Anti-Hero and the Fallen Hero are far more common than the Classic Hero. I think we need Classic Heroes too. That being said, however, if you were to ask me what I think constitutes a hero in our day and age, I would say that it is the man who always does the Good Thing, no matter how hard it is, and even if it is done so quietly that no other person is aware that he has done it. Doing the Good Thing can be difficult, and making a habit of doing it takes real courage.

6) Do you like acting and if so, would you take an acting class with me?

     Good lord, no! I like ye, Bella, I really do, but I'd rather fight a troll.

7) What is your favorite type of book?

     One that is bound in tooled leather, with gilt along the page-edges.

8) Do you carry/own a sonic screwdriver?

     No,  but I carry an Emergency Kit with me at all times, and am looking into acquiring a Frying Pan of Doom.

9) Would you run away with Peter Pan?

     I don't think so. That, my friends, is a face that cannot be trusted:

10) Do you like the old, legend-like fairy tales?

     I read Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight just for fun, and I enjoy The Silmarillian. I can't say that I have sat me down and properly read a fairy tale in quite a while, but I used to read them compulsively, when I was much younger, and still have a decent collection of them on my shelves. I am particularly fond of Cuchulainn:

11) What is the craziest thing you've ever done?

     Well, I have it on good authority that I am eccentric. I fancy this means that I have done lots of crazy things in my day, but if the truth be spoken, clearly and without artifice, I consider the things I do to be the essence of normality, so really, I am in no position to answer this question.